The eyes of the knight who had been protecting the entrance of the Puzzle City City Hall were sparkling.
The radiant shield slowly became dimmer as it disappeared from the sky. In its place was the extremely clear blue sky.
The cheering soldiers… Their shouts made it feel real.
This long battle was finally over.
They never expected to see such a clear sky afterward.
A gentle smile appeared on the knight’s face.
Although it was a day in winter and not much time was left in this year… The sun in the sky felt oddly warm and the wind felt refreshing instead of cold.
His mumbling made the senior knight standing next to him laugh out loud and nod his head.
“Looks like it. Finally… finally-”
The senior knight could not say anything else and raised his head to look at the person standing in the sky.
Cale Henituse. He was standing firm.
“The shield truly does not break.”
The knight nodded his head vigorously at his senior’s comment to show his agreement.
“I knew that the Commander-nim would persist to the end.”
Although this god was sealed, they were told that an attack with the power of a god would soon envelop Puzzle City.
‘It gave me chills.’
Loud explosions that sounded as if his ears would explode rang endlessly, and gusts of wind from the impact rushed against them.
They could not see the different powers mixed together because of the large shield surrounding Puzzle City and Cale’s half-transparent silver shield, but they knew that there was quite the clash happening there.
‘Yes. But the shield still persisted.’
The thing that remained in the end, the thing that persisted through everything, was the shield.
It was the Commander of the Roan Kingdom.
The knight smiled as he did not share his emotions.
“The shield did not even budge, just as I expected!”
The knight saw the senior knight’s face stiffen at that moment.
He got chills on the back of his neck.
He heard a low voice.
The knight urgently turned his head and froze on the spot after seeing the two people in front of the group.
“The shield did not even budge you say……”
This person was from the noble household that was said to have the most influence in the Roan Kingdom right now.
The Duke’s House of Henituse.
The master of the household, Deruth Henituse, was smiling while being supported by his second son, Basen Henituse. Basen had rushed over to Puzzle City after hearing that the Duke had fainted.
Duke Deruth’s eyes were not smiling.
The knight subconsciously gulped.
He recalled the information about how Duke Deruth had fainted from shock after seeing former Commander Cale Henituse stab himself in the chest with a dagger.
The Duke nodded his head and asked in a low voice.
“That blood-covered look, that messy look seems perfect without any issues to you?”
Duke Deruth was known as someone who had a lot of money, cared a lot for his family and his territory, and for having a good personality. He was just known as a typical noble when he was a Count.
However, the Henituse territory defeating the Indomitable Alliance and his territory being known as the hometown of Cale, Choi Han, and other distinguished individuals changed the way people looked at him.
However, the majority opinion still remained that Duke Deruth was a gentle person.
‘…H, his gaze-’
The knight subconsciously lowered his head.
Deruth’s gaze was quite vicious, unlike the smile on his face.
No, it was cold.
Unlike his body which looked tired and made it seem as if his condition was terrible, his eyes were extremely frigid.
“I, I’m sorry, sir.”
The knight subconsciously apologized.
“For what? It’s understandable that you would think that way. There is no need to apologize.”
Duke Deruth walked past the knight and patted him on the shoulder.
“I just hope that you remember that I am Cale’s father. What kind of parent would be able to brush aside their child looking like this?”
The knight’s tense shoulders relaxed after hearing Deruth’s gentle voice.
Deruth patted the knight’s shoulder and walked past him. He walked for a while before stopping for a moment and looking around.
Basen’s expression looked almost identical to Deruth’s.
“…It looks like there are some people who can’t see the injured because they managed to survive.”
Vice-Captain Hilsman and the others from the House of Henituse who were with Deruth and Basen did not have any emotions visible on their faces.
“What kind of House is the House of Henituse?”
Basen responded without any hesitation.
“ ‘There is no reason to be recorded in history. Live for peace and happiness instead.’ ”
“Yes. That is the House of Henituse.”
Deruth watched people coming out from different parts of Puzzle City cheering, people moving quickly to deliver the message to other places, and people hugging each other in relief. Finally, he looked toward the person that most of the people were looking at. He looked up at his son Cale and continued speaking.
“It looks like we may have the first person in the House of Henituse to have their name recorded in history. Then we should at least keep the second part of our creed.”
‘There is no reason to be recorded in history. Live for peace and happiness.’
Duke Deruth was thinking that if the former was difficult to do, he should at least do the latter.
Hilsman took a step forward.
“His Majesty went to the shelter?”
“Yes, sir. His Majesty did not wish to evacuate, but I heard that they barely managed to convince him in the end.”
“Inform his Majesty that I wish for an audience.”
Duke Deruth was a very good person and might even seem a bit too laissez-faire, but he was someone who found rules and principles to be important.
But such a person was releasing such a vicious aura right now.
‘I knew young master Cale-nim’s personality came from Duke Deruth-nim.’
He had wondered at times whether Cale was more like Violan despite her not being his biological mother, but… He truly was like the Duke.
“Pack our bags.”
Hilsman and the nearby knights flinched and looked at Deruth.
“There shouldn’t be a need for us to pay attention to useless things like the state of the continent or whatnot. I’m going to go see your brother’s face.”
Basen responded without any hesitation.
He then immediately started moving to inform Duchess Violan about this.
Deruth watched him leave before slowly moving again.
He was headed to see his son’s face.
His eyes observed Cale moving into the temple with the broken wall.
Cale, who had no idea about this, rubbed the back of his head after thinking that it suddenly got cold.
“Why do I suddenly have the chills?”
‘There should be nothing left to do here?’
“Human, am I sending them all up to our house?”
Cale nodded his head at Raon’s question once he entered the temple.
“Yes. None of them are in serious danger?”
“That’s right! I think they are all just exhausted from mana overuse. All of them have stable mana fluctuations!”
They heard a weak voice at that moment.
“Yes. There is no serious danger.”
Mila was weakly speaking while hugging Dodori in her arms.
She was also barely floating in the air without falling thanks to Raon’s flight magic.
At least she was still conscious.
The others had either fainted or fallen asleep.
Cale looked at Dodori in Mila’s arms and Mila’s pale face and opened his mouth.
He had observed her as well. She did not have any injuries and her breathing was stable.
“This is bad.”
It was bad for him.
Cale could not stop frowning.
Mila had a faint smile on her face. Cale avoided her smile and nonchalantly commented.
“Raon. Move our esteemed Dragons and Miss Rosalyn to the Black Castle immediately.”
They were likely to run into some cumbersome situations or unnecessary gazes if they were taken to City Hall.
‘It would be different if his highness was here, but I can’t control all situations when he’s not available.’
Cale peeked toward Alberu who was still lying down with his eyes closed and then looked at Raon.
“Alright! I’ll be right back!”
Raon urgently took the Dragons and Rosalyn to the Black Castle. Cale walked over to Alberu and Mary.
The two of them looked as if they were sleeping.
He needed to take them to Tasha and the Dark Elves instead of the Black Castle.
He needed to be especially careful with Alberu so that nobody saw him.
“Choi Han. Let’s each carry o-”
Someone was struggling to open his eyes at that moment.
Cale urgently crouched down by Alberu’s side and looked at him. That was why he had not seen Choi Han’s gaze of disbelief at him saying that they should each carry one person.
Alberu let out a deep sigh and finally opened his eyes.
He scowled and blinked a few more times before saying something.
“Move your face.”
“It sounds like your tongue is fine, your highness.”
Cale chuckled and took a step back from Alberu. Choi Han could see the corners of Cale’s lips slowly twitching up.
“Choi Han. Help me up.”
Alberu stood up with Choi Han’s support. Cale was checking Mary’s condition as he nonchalantly asked.
“Are you okay, your highness?”
“I feel like I’m going to die.”
One corner of Cale’s lips twisted up and he subconsciously commented.
“So why did you overdo it like that?”
– It’s all karma.
As Cale frowned as the Super Rock mumbled that again…
“Time for you to faint.”
He heard Alberu’s voice.
“I confirmed that Mary fell asleep earlier. She looked like she was going to faint so I told her to rest.”
“Wait, more importantly, you want me to faint? But I’m fine?”
Cale was feeling better than ever before.
“You are the one who should get some rest, your highness. I’ll take care of the rest.”
Alberu smiled at that moment.
It was a radiant smile.
Cale started to get an ominous feeling. It was then that he realized that he could not see Clopeh.
He paid so little attention to that bastard that he didn’t realize Clopeh was gone.
The Super Rock whispered to him.
– The temple door is opened. Clopeh opened it.
Now that the temple was not the sealed god’s territory, it was easy to open the temple door as there were no illusions nor anything protecting it.
Cale could hear someone’s voice in the distance.
“My close friend, are you in there?!”
Commander Toonka. He could hear that stupid fool’s loud voice.
The voice was slowly getting closer.
“Young master Cale!”
He then heard Queen Litana, Saint Jack, priestess Cage, Sword master Hannah, and others as well.
They had all waited near the temple door instead of going down to the ground.
Alberu spoke in an elegant voice at that moment.
“Okay, time to faint. Dongsaeng.”
“…But I’m fine?”
“We don’t have time.”
Alberu slightly raised his hand.
Cale finally realized that Choi Han had moved behind him. Cale had let down his guard for a moment because this was normal behavior for Choi Han.
Choi Han raised his foot.
Cale knelt down on one knee after feeling a push behind his knee.
It was such perfect timing that Cale could see Toonka watching him crumble to the ground.
“C, Cale Henituuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse—-!”
Toonka felt as if he could not breathe as he watched Cale weakly fall down.
He had not been able to see Cale clearly during the battle because of the distance.
He was only able to see Cale now after the battle, and Cale looked even more gruesome than he had expected.
He knew that Cale always looked terrible and almost inhumane; he knew that Cale always had messy hair and was covered in blood, but…
Seeing him up close, it was easy to see that he was extremely pale, and the red and black blood mixed together above his chest made the grotesque scar even more visible.
His clothes were a mess, and his red hair was caked in blood and dust.
Toonka saw such a person’s eyes open wide while looking at him.
‘It must be because he is happy to see me.’
However, Cale was falling to the ground at the same time.
His face looked as if he couldn’t believe that he was falling.
He was falling forward too quickly.
“Y, you stupid bastard–!!”
Toonka was both sad and angry.
Cale had stood firmly in the air just moments ago, but was falling like this once nobody was looking.
‘Yes, even Dragons were fainting, so how could this punk not?!’
It was stupid for anybody to think that Cale could make it through fine.
“Y, young master Cale!”
Queen Litana subconsciously called out Cale’s name almost in a shout.
However, Cale was unable to raise his body himself and was only able to avoid hitting the floor thanks to Choi Han.
“Oh, dear lord!”
Saint Jack ran forward from the back without knowing what to do.
Hannah had already rushed forward to check Mary’s condition before shouting toward Choi Han.
“Hey! We need to quickly move them!”
Choi Han silently carried Cale on his back. He moved quite efficiently.
“H, how is he?”
Litana, who had come next to them now, felt her fingertips shaking as Choi Han did not respond to her and just carried Cale while biting down on his lips.
Choi Han was usually respectful and a very good person. The situation was so urgent that such a person could not even respond.
This must mean that Cale was in dire condition.
“To me, please bring him to me now-”
Saint Jack caught his breath as he approached Choi Han.
Alberu spoke in a low voice at that moment.
“His plate is in danger, so it would be bad to try to heal him here.”
“Excuse me? But I should still-”
Cage, the last person in the pack, moved next to Choi Han before putting a hand on Jack’s shoulder.
“His highness is right.”
Jack saw Cage wink at him. He nodded his head in confusion.
Cage urgently shouted.
“There are some mages outside the temple, so it should not be hard for us to get down!”
These mages were here to protect or move Litana, Toonka, Jack, and the others in case any unexpected situations arose. They were all Alberu’s subordinates.
“Yes. Let’s go!”
Toonka looked at Cale, who was on Choi Han’s back and could not even lift his head, and shouted with desperation. He then approached Alberu.
“Will you be okay if I support you?”
Someone interjected at that moment.
It was Clopeh, who had gone through the temple once the sealed god’s schemes had disappeared, and opened the door.
“I can support him.”
Clopeh supported Alberu and helped him stand without any hesitation.
“Let’s hurry! It’s urgent!”
Cage shouted again and Toonka ran forward as Cage pointed at him to lead the way. Litana was with him as well.
Choi Han was behind them with Cale on his back while Cale sighed with his eyes closed.
‘What the hell is he plotting?’
Cale was thinking about what Alberu was plotting. He was also thinking about what Choi Han, this guy who had his mouth shut because he couldn’t act at all, was thinking.
Alberu had no idea about this as he looked at Clopeh. Clopeh quietly whispered after sensing his gaze.
“For the legend.”
Alberu hid his thoughts and said something else.
“How about you carry me too.”
Hannah had carried Mary on her back already.
Clopeh said that his arms and legs were strong enough for that and carried Alberu.
“It seems as if you are trying to trick everybody, your highness.”
Alberu smiled at Clopeh’s nonchalant comment.
The danger was over.
However, they needed to filter through people to prevent another danger.
He needed to find out if there were bastards who would try to take their positions or scheme things behind their backs while the heroes of this incident were in critical condition.
He needed to observe the allied nations who were cooperating with them as well.
‘Most importantly, I need to figure out what the hell the king is thinking.’
He needed to decipher Zed Crossman’s inner thoughts.
‘Furthermore, I need to control what people are thinking.’
Alberu remembered what one of his subordinates had said about Cale. This faith that Cale would be able to take care of everything… The things that were said while looking at someone who looked as if he could faint at any moment…
‘…I can’t let my dongsaeng carry such baggage.’
These people were more like family than his actual family. These friends were worth more than family.
“The Guardian Knight truly is different.”
Of course, Clopeh was not on that list.
* * *
A group of people was descending toward the Puzzle City Plaza from the temple using flight magic.
The plaza was currently filled with the chief executives of the different forces as well as people who had come to watch.
The King of the Roan Kingdom, who should be controlling this, was just off in the distance watching.
Once the group of people landed at the center of the plaza…
One of the Whipper Kingdom’s warriors approached Toonka, who was in the front of the group. His face was full of happiness and joy. It was the same for the others around them.
As they all tried to approach the heroes and welcome their return…
As the spectators were about to cheer…
“Commander-nim, everything is finally o-!”
Toonka’s shout made everybody silent.
Toonka pushed aside his approaching subordinate and charged forward like a carriage.
“M, my liege?”
It was obvious that Toonka was enraged. He looked at the subordinate who had confusedly called out to him and shouted.
“Can’t you see that we have a patient in critical condition? Huh?”
“Are you snickering? Huh? You can laugh in this situation?”
The face of the subordinate, who was about to smile, stiffened.
He immediately realized that Toonka could snap at any moment and immediately changed his demeanor. His eyes quickly moved past Toonka.
He could see multiple people in serious conditions.
They seemed more like patients than heroes. He walked in front of Toonka and shouted.
“Move! Don’t block the way!”
Cage’s priestess robe fluttered as she shouted desperately at that moment.
“Please make way! We need to quickly move them and start healing them with the Saint-nim!”
Toonka and Litana pushed people to the side as Cage shouted desperately.
“My close friend’s life is in danger!”
Toonka was feeling such a sense of urgency and full of rage and sorrow that he shouted.
“See what happens if you get in our way! Move aside unless you want to die!”
Crown prince Alberu, who was on Clopeh’s back pretending to be unconscious, quietly mumbled to himself.
Clopeh laughed quietly.
Cale, who was on Choi Han’s back as he ran behind Toonka, clenched his eyes even tighter.
“M, my son!”
His father. He heard Deruth Henituse’s voice through the crowd.
He had a feeling that this was going to be bad.
His instincts were telling him it would be bad.
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